tv Obama CSPAN August 27, 2017 7:30am-7:51am EDT
mission like-- [laughter] >> i have coupons appear. you might be the lucky one to get the space x ride. if you get an opportunity and whatever the experience you have get to see this, it fundamentally, cognitively changes you as a person to make you want to do better when you see our planets from that vantage point. >> you can watch this other programs online at book tv.org. >> one of the things we like to do on book tv's preview some books that will come out this fall for joining us now from new york is author and photographer named pete souza. what do you do for living? guest: right now i'm trying to finish up my book. it's pretty much done, but there is a lot of
last-minute production things we're dealing with. host: what did you do for a living? guest: for eight years i was president obama chief house-- chief white house photographer. the role is to document the presidency for history and what that means depends on the photographer and the presidents and in this case president obama understood the role of truly visually documenting his presidency, so he gave me access to pre-match everything and so i think i was able to create an archive of photographs that will live in perpetuity at the national archives. host: how long has the president had a photographer like that? guest: i think the job really first to cold during the kennedy administration. kennedy had to military photographers assigned it to the white house,
but then when lbj came in and hired this guy, a civilian who really was the first one to document for history everything that johnson did and he set the bar so high that i think everyone of us have been trying to reach his level ever since. host: how do you get a gig like that? guest: i think it's different for each white house photographer. for me, i got to meet then the senator obama, actually his first day in the senate. i was working for the chicago tribune. i was based in dc and got this assignment to document his first year the senate, so i got to know him. he got to know me. he liked my pictures. he liked the way i work i use a a small footprint and try not to
disturb what was taking place and so when he was president he asked me to become his white house photographer. host: how many pictures in the eight years did you take up president obama? what would you guess the? >> i kind of know. host: oh, i would have probably said 300,000 or 400,000. guest: just under 2 million, but when you add it up, i was there sometimes seven days a week. it's not as many pictures as it really sounds. 2 million is a lot, but it's over eight years and it's over for the most part 360 days a year. host: what kind of clearance did you have to have? guest: top secret clearance. they would go into every national security meeting, which i think is important in terms of trying to document the
importance meetings of the presidency to have that clearance. host: the almost iconic photo of the president the night osama bin laden was killed, was that yours? guest: yes. host: tell me about that moment. guest: it was in the afternoon. the interesting thing is about that photograph is that really all of the decision-makers in that room, vice president and president, chief of staff, secretary of state, secretary of defense, there was nothing they could do. they had already made their decision. they made the decision to launch this special forces mission and now they could do was watch. it was out of their hands, so that's got to be kind of a anxious time for them, which i think is what is pro- trade in the photograph. you see the tension in the anxiety. they didn't even know
for sure if bin laden was there. they didn't know if the mission would succeed and he was kind of risking his whole presidency on this one decision, so i look at that picture and that's what i see. there's helplessness in some respect in that the decision had been made and there was nothing they could do except hope and watches. host: pete souza, did you know at that point what you had in that picture? guest: i was in that room for 40 minutes. that's about how long the mission took and i took probably 100 pictures in that 40 minutes. i had a lot of pictures throughout the day. i think i took a thousand pictures that they and then it was not till the next day that i actually did the editing and got it down to 10 or 20 pictures. i thought it was a
special photograph. i didn't know it would get the kind of attention it did. host: what's your favorite photograph of president obama? guest: i don't think i really have one. it's kind of a difficult decision to take eight years of work and narrow it down to one. i had a hard enough time taking those 1.96 million photographs and getting it down to 300 plus for this book. that was hard enough and to get that down to one is like really hard for me to say. host: out of the 300 in the forthcoming book, what are a couple that you really really like? guest: i would probably gravitate towards the ones that show him as a person, what was he like as a person. there's one of him playing in the snow with his girls when they were
still young. there's one where a young kid is dressed up like spiderman zapping him into a web. there's another one where-- a halloween picture where ben rosen's daughter dressed up in an elephant costume and comes into the oval office and he lies down on the floor of the oval office and lifts her up in the air, so those like unique moments you see and you don't know they are about to happen and they happen and i think it tells you a lot about his personality and what he's like a person and not just pictures of him in the situation room or him agonizing over what's happening in syria took those pictures are important and they tell you a lot about his presidency, that the other ones i present-- mention to you a lot about him as a person. host: did the president ever next a photo that you chose?
guest: it didn't really work that way, actually. i think he trusted me if we were going to make public a picture that i would put out an appropriate picture. i think if you look at some of the early pictures we released where he was dealing with economic crisis and you could say these are not traditional pictures you see where he has his head in his hands or because we were in this terrible economic situation, but i was trying to be truthful to how he was dealing with this in his meeting and i think people thought they were appropriate to make public so that the public could see that he was-- what he was doing. during the next presidential campaign they were used by the opposition and put in the wrong context, so
that's sort of the risk you take when you make public pictures like that is it's hard to control that they are shown in the proper context. host: was there ever a time when the president said not now? guest: no, but i know him so well that i could tell when he needed some space or i also came to learn if he had one-on-one meeting with someone where he really wanted to have a private conversation that he didn't ever say this to me, but i could sense it. he wanted me to make sure i got my pictures, but then just kind of the back out of the room i learned to do that over the course of the first six months. you have to learn how to do your job and had to do it in a way that he's
comfortable with. host: was your camera click audibly? guest: that's a very good question, i mean, when i first started at the white house i had to choose what kind of equipment to purchase for me and my staff and overwriting decision was two things, quiet and could would run at that time that was made so at the time i chose the canon , quiet shutter. i did not shoot with motor drives or use a flash. i tried to be what i call small footprint, not to disturb what was going on and use a quiet camera and not use the motor drive or flash. i think that helped a lot. host: your first time at the white house? guest: it was not. i was also white house photographer, not chief
photographer, but i was on the white house staff during the last five years of the reagan administration and i'm either younger than i look or i was 12 at the time and i choose to say i was 12 at the time. know, so i was in my 20s and it was a good training ground for the second time around because i sort of knew what needed to be done. i knew the white house really well and i knew how the logistics of it being on the road works and i think that helped a lot having had that previous experiences. host: could you go a whole day-- first of all, what were the differences between being on the staff at the reagan white house and being the chief at the obama white house? guest: well, the biggest difference was i knew-- i had already established a relationship with president
obama before he was president's, so that had already been established. i do not know reagan at all. i-- my personal views tended to be more on the obama side than the reagan site, but i looked at it as an opportunity to document history. i think with reagan, reagan was much more formal than president obama in that he would always wear a coat and tie. never take his sukkoth off. president obama was much more informal. he would take his coat off if he was having a meeting with his staff. he was much more informal. he would do things that weren't on the schedule of the time and reagan pretty much stuck to his schedule. he was much younger than
president reagan, so he had a young family with two young girls, so there was that whole aspect of documenting that part of history. there were those differences. the one thing they were both similar in is they had similar dispositions in the bats it took a lot to get ronald reagan mad or angry. same is true with president obama and i saw both of them get mad and angry, but it would take a lot for that to happen. they both had this sort of even keel about them and that's probably the one similarity. host: pete souza, on a typical day could you go the entire day with president obama and basically never exchange words because you are both doing your job's? i did talk to him a lot, but i also knew my role as observer.
my job is documenting for history, but yet i had this friendship with him, so we did banter a lot, but sure there would be days where maybe like it be 4:00 p.m. and there would be a moment where we were alone and he would say how are you doing today and i think i'm doing great, how are you doing and then we would talk about a game or something like that, but there were certainly days where i was in having ongoing conversations because i was not my role. host: how long did it take for him to get used to you? guest: probably four or five months. he already knew how i work and he trusted me. guest: for anyone to be constantly photographed as to be annoying, i mean, it would be annoying for me, but i think after a while he started to see the value of it and the pictures
that he loved or anytime we hung a picture of him with one of his girls in the west wing. those are the pictures he loved more than anything. host: wanted to be ongoing stories during the transition is the president leaves the white house to go to the capital and then he's gone by the time the new president gets down, new photos are already hung. how does that happen? guest: so, i can only tell you how we did it. i can tell you about the beginning of the obama administration and the end of the obama administration. i can't really tell you much else. the beginning of the obama administration we had our lab even though it's digital it's still called a lab.
we had them on standby for the night of the inauguration, so basically all the pictures we took on january 20, 2009, were hanging on the wall the west wing the following day because they worked overnight. for four the obama administration the last three weeks we essentially hung the best photos of the eight years of the staff the last couple weeks. then, there came a point in time where i had to take those pictures down and it was kind of depressing, actually because it all of a sudden once the staff walks in the morning generally 20th, 2017, and it's just blank frames on the wall. i left the frames for the next administration, but there was nothing in them. that was kind of strange
feeling to walk out the door like that. host: pete souza your book, "obama: an intimate portrait", will he be what they call a coffee table book? guest: yes. it will be 12 inches by 10 inches, 352 pages. it will weigh like 6 pounds-- more than 6 pounds. very heavyweight paper, definitely a coffee table book. there are words in it, also. there are some photographs right tell the complete back story of the photograph some photographs will have simple one line captions and some will have the extended back story. host: who also writes for those photos? guest: we all do. host: so i could publish the book? guest: you could, but you are
not in the room and that is the challenge and i think what i bring to this project is that i think of it together contextually the right group of photographs and tell you about his presidency and about him. it's coming from me. there was just my view of it, but i think hopefully historians will feel i did justice to documenting for history. host: pete souza, former white house photographer. here's the book and it comes out in november. "obama: an intimate portrait". this is book tv on c-span2 previewing some of the books coming out this fall. >> one, investment fraud is that pyramid scheme involving promises of profitability and then
initially delivering on those promises by taking the money that later investors put in and using that to pay off the early investors and this can't last forever because eventually you run out of people at the bottom of the pyramid. one of the-- the form of that is very consistent, but so is the motive marketing and in almost all of these schemes the approaches to look for some group of insiders to have someone in the group almost all of those are perpetrated by individuals who can't expect to have trust because they are selling mrs. came to people like them who are distinct from the rest of society. the most fitness example and probably still is the ponzi scheme. that's why we call it a ponzi scheme, charles ponzi operated in the
early 1920s and focused on the italian community, which is what he came from. the earliest example i know is a woman actually sarah how in the 1870s in boston and she focused on unmarried women bond of trust, i'm unmarried, you are unmarried and there are quakers who gave me resources to enable me to make good on my thomases of wild investment returns and one that starts going the chief markers of this scheme, it's not advertising. it's word-of-mouth and that the pattern that has occurred right up to our time. >> you can watch this and other programs online at the tv.org.